Michael Schumacher has changed his stance on Mercedes GP's competitiveness heading into the beginning of the 2010 season.
Schumacher said on Friday that he did not expect the team to be in a position to win races early in the year, but changed his mind on Saturday after analyzing the data in more detail. However, speaking on Saturday afternoon, Schumacher said: "Yesterday I was a little bit pessimistic before I studied the data. I mentioned it after not having studied the data, afterward, it looks much more reasonable than I thought.
"This was just initial feeling, but it looks like maybe we were running more fuel than others yesterday and that's why the time didn't look so good. Looking at the results and the data, it looks very reasonable – not too bad."
However, the seven-time World Champion stopped short of predicting wins. "Maybe, maybe not," he said. "But it is important to see what happens by the end of the season and not by the beginning. We have to be within fighting distance. If we are not in a position to win the first races, I wouldn't worry at all. If we are two seconds off the pace, then OK, maybe we start to worry – but I don't think that is the case."
When asked who he thinks is favorite in 2010, Schumacher said: "I think Felipe [Massa] and Fernando [Alonso] at the moment look the target. They have been doing very good testing and things look good. I know the team so I know there are good reasons to be happy. I am not surprised."
Still, he added that the true competitive picture was hard to define at this stage "I don't know who has played all their cards yet. Even with my experience, I really struggle," he said. "There are several teams that look very competitive."